The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are easy to hold up on paper as the best smartphones of 2016 - mostly because they'll likely be the best-selling models (well, next to the iPhone). But what about them makes them actually worth owning? Is Samsung's latest smartphone duo basically just a gussied-up retread of the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge+, or is there more to it than that? I think there is. Here are five things I love about the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. (Don't forget to check out our full review right here.)
One phone, two sizes
So often we are asked to either buy a "mainstream" Android smartphone or wait for the separate "phablet" launches of devices that often occur later in the year.
Perhaps the LG G5 isn't what you're looking for in a phone. No big, LG also has the V10. It's bigger, has a secondary display, and now it has Marshmallow on AT&T. The UI won't change to match the G5, but you'll get all the usual Marshmallow goodies.
By now, you'll probably have heard that Prince died yesterday in his home in Minnesota at the age of 57. Today, Google is paying tribute to him with a 'Purple Rain' Google Doodle and by colouring Google Play Music's usually orange branding purple for the day.
Purple Rain was Prince's sixth studio album, as well as the last song on the record and also his debut film. Ever since, purple has been associated with Prince (he painted his rented house purple in 2006), so it is very fitting that Google has chosen to honor him in this way. It's a pity the Android version of Play Music hasn't gone purple for the day, though - the Android app surely gets more usage than the web version.
Adverts for tech products tend to range wildly from being excellent to being excruciatingly terrible. When executed properly, they have the potential to be charming, funny, and effusive, and demonstrate the features of the product well. The latest marketing campaign for the Samsung Galaxy S7, starring rapper Lil’ Wayne, is a great example of that. But when they go wrong, they go really wrong, as seen by the TV spot for the new Huawei P9.
The star-studded advert features English actor Henry Cavill, who recently portrayed the Man of Steel in the craptacular Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as Scarlett Johannson, who played a MacBook Pro in Her.
I don't understand a lot of things about design, but if you ask me, those Jonathan Adler designs for Motorola's X Pure Edition aren't that appealing. They're interesting, sure, and I might want them for a couple of days or weeks, but I'd get bored of the pattern pretty quickly.
If you don't agree with me or you just want an X Pure on the cheap and don't care about the back design of the phone, you might want to hear about Motorola's latest deal. The regular Moto X Pure Edition usually costs $399.99, but it's now being discounted to $349.99. That isn't the lowest you can pay though.
Google is on a crusade against search bars. Or so it seems to us at least. Late last year, the Play Store received an interface revamp that dumped the green search bar in favor of an overlaid grey bar with a hamburger menu, a voice search icon, and the words Google Play in grey that disappeared as soon as you started typing. Then a few days ago, it changed Play Books' search bar to a look that sits somewhere in the middle, with the blue bar switching into the grey one when you tapped to search.
Samsung and The Weather Channel aren't two companies you would naturally pair together, but they've done just that: the two have partnered up to produce a specialized version of the weather app, exclusive to Samsung's S6 edge, S7 edge, and Note 5.
As it's produced by The Weather Channel, the main function is to tell the user the weather conditions. This works well enough: currently, conditions are 49°F outside, according to the app, although it feels like 44°F apparently. I also know sunrise is due at 5:52 this morning. Scrolling down, there is more detailed weather information, such as wind speed and direction, humidity, dew point, pressure, and UV index.
For years, Samsung has generally not sold its top-tier smartphones SIM unlocked to US customers. The reason for that is basically left to us to speculate: be it collusion with or demands from carriers, cost issues, or simple lack of demand, it's not exactly clear. But the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge may be the most readily available unlocked of any major Samsung smartphones in the US yet.
Currently, Best Buy will sell you - with what appears to be a factory Samsung warranty - an unlocked North American model Galaxy S7 or S7 edge. They aren't cheap... at all: $709.99 for the S7 and $819.99 for the S7 edge.
Google's in-house Project Fi has a great app compared to what you get from other carriers. Not that it would be hard to make that happen, but it is pretty good. It's getting even better today with an update (version I.2.1) that adds a new widget and better control over call forwarding.